On Wednesday 18th I spoke at the excellent EdExec Live 2014 about using social media in education. You can view and download my presentation below.
My talk was entitled the ‘Classroom of 2018’. The talk has now been published and you can watch it below.
In my talk I mention the need for decisions about technology that affect teaching and learning being made by a teacher, the Director of ICT for instance and not just by an IT manager. Although I didn’t say it in this talk, I want to make it clear how important IT managers / network managers are in schools. They have the technical knowledge to make things happen. I realise I may cause offence to some but that was not my intention.
I also did an interview entitled ‘What will the classroom of 2018 look like’. You can read my interview by clicking on the link below and going to page 43.
Last year I wrote an article for the Guardian on the future of technology in education. This article focused on ‘The Cloud’ and its impact on education, whilst only briefly mentioning devices. As its now 2014, I thought it would useful to revisit this subject and take a look at some things to look out for and how they can be used to support teaching and learning over the coming years.
Schools are taking tablets very seriously at the moment and many are investing in new devices. Apple has a bit of a strangle hold in education with its iPad but with an influx of cheaper tablets more and more schools may opt for Android devices like the Tesco Hudl. Microsoft are trying to get involved with its new Surface 2, so 2014 or 2015 may see Apple losing its grip. For me, the iPad is my prefered device but it is expensive and schools need to decide how tablets will be used to support teaching and learning before they splash out. From a personal point of view Apple need to make some improvement in order to keep ahead. Not all schools want to go 1:1 and there needs to be far better ways to manage devices used across the school. Multiple profiles on devices would be fantastic as would true multitasking with apps working side by side, some operating systems are already offering this. Apple and other providers need to start talking to schools if they want us to invest money in their devices. Tablets are not always suitable for some needs, Google Chromebooks are making headway in schools as many are looking at adopting Google Apps, which is free for education use.
Wearable tech is all the rage at the moment, especially smart watches. Samsung and Sony are both getting in on the action and lets not forget the Kickstarter funded Pebble watch. Apple are also rumoured to be getting in on the action this year with their iWatch. These devices are a great way for students and teachers to be connected to their smartphones. Emails, texts, reminders about homework/assignments/lesson plans or even notifications from their social networks could all be useful in a education environment. The usefulness of these devices will all depend on how productively students and teachers are using their smartphones. The next big device in wearables is of course, Google Glass, although it has a vival on its way called iOptik which looks like an exciting product. These sorts of devices could be used to easily film and share lessons, searching the internet whilst doing something at the same time, easily taking photos/videos, using augmented reality to interact with the environment inside or outside of school or pushing resources to students devices, among other things. Students could watch educational videos anywhere and without the need of a tablet or computer. There are a lot of possibilities but will students and teachers be willing to use these sorts of glasses? Privacy is a concern, as is the problem with monitoring such devices not to mention the cost.
Virtual Reality (VR)
When people think of Virtual Reality (VR) they envision The Lawnmower Man and the 90’s. However, with the advent of products like ‘Oculus Rift’ people are really beginning to see the possibility of a product that actually work as intended. Originally designed for video games, it won’t be too long before it is adopted by others, especially when you look at the current trend of ‘gamification’. VR could bring a fantastic immersive experience into the classroom in all subjects. I love the idea of students exploring environments or historical moments in time without leaving the classroom all the time feeling like they are actually there. Combine this with motion sensors like Kinect 2.0 and you have something really special. Could VR be used by absent students or distance learning students so that they can a virtual presence in the classroom? Its sounds like something from a science fiction film but this is certainly something I would love to see. Imagine all the people that would benefit from this technology. This will not replace a traditional classroom, simply extend upon it.
Motions Sensor Devices
Another piece of gaming technology that has exciting possibilities are motion sensors like the Kinect 2.0 that comes with the new Xbox One or a stand alone device like Leap Motion. I love the idea of students and teachers being able to augment and control what they see on the board or screen. This could be 3D models of the human body all the way control to basic controls of on screen presentations. Think about how Kinect 2.0 could be used in design and technology. You only have to look at this video of Kinect and Oculus Rift from NASA to get excited about the possibilities, a powerful educational tool indeed when combine with VR. Doctors are already using it during surgery and its just a matter of time before it start to be used more in schools. Some educators are using Kinect with applications like scratch to make interactive games, whilst teaching young people how to code. With this new technology, the sensors are so powerful they can work out the heart rate of an individual or the pressure exerted on parts the body. PE, Games or Science anyone? This is another example of the gaming world crossing over into education.
If you are looking for an alternative to Explain Everything you should check out Animoby.
Its free on the Apple App Store as well as Google Play. It has some great features and what I like the most is the UI, it is very user friendly.
Create quality presentations using VOICE and a variety of design tools (draw, paint, type, image), and publish or share via e-mail. Animations are created when users pick a tool and simply touch the screen, and voice can accompany designs by the press of the record button. Unlike other apps that create presentions, Animoby’s sharing process is simplified due to compact file sizes it uses.
I have also been impressed with the some of the editing options for things like images. All in all a great app and well worth downloading.
Explain that not everything on the internet is true
Ask your child/student to compare information from different sites when doing research. Some sites may be biased or have a political agenda
Trustworthy sites may be associated with trustworthy organisations
Question what you read and look for other opinions
Use keywords when searching the web to make your search more accurate. Do not just type a question – select the most important words
When searching for websites and images etc try refining the search using the search tools so you are more likely to find what you want. These options are just underneath the Google search bar
Encourage your child/student to read the whole article or page
Information should not just be copied and pasted. It needs to be read, understood, digested and questioned
Encourage your child/student to use well known sources. For example: NASA, BBC etc.
Avoid using sites such as answers.yahoo.com. Anyone can contribute to these sites and the information may not be correct or accurate. If you are using Wikipedia, make sure you look out for mistakes or things that may not be true.
I recently purchased a device called ‘Swivl’ for school and I thought I would take the time to write a quick post about it.
‘Swivl’ is a used to film lessons or other activities for use with the flipped classroom or lesson observations.
The device sits on a tripod and has a slot for you to put your iPhone or iPod Touch into it. You can then put the microphone/sensor around your neck and the device will swivel round and follow you as you walk around the classroom. It pretty cool and staff and students were impressed with the tech.
It is a great device that is very useful if you want to film your lessons, especially if you have a teacher that walks around a lot, like me. It also has a free App that that optimises the experience.
As you will see from the video below, you should check the white balance as you can hardly see what is on the whiteboard. I should have really had a look before I started filming, leaving the classroom light on would have helped. It is also fairly pricey at about £175. I got mine from: http://www.techinvasion.co.uk/
There is another issue too. If you are walking around the camera follows you, which is fine. However, I make lots of small movements so the camera can be a little jerky. Probably something just to be mindful of when you are using it I suppose. Update: A representative of Techinvasion read this post and kindly emailed me with some guidance. He let me know that there is a ‘Sport Mode’ which is there for just this reason.
Overall, I think it is really good. It is very easy to set up and will certainly improve the filming and sharing the lessons.
Have a look at the video and make up your own mind. Sorry about the rubbish commentary. It has been a long day. 🙂
I got hold of Leap Motion today and I was keen to try it out. The possibility of augmenting what is happening on the computer screen by the motion of my hands it exciting.
At lunchtime today, I set it up with some students and we gave it a go. They really liked it and I was quite impressed. All was going well until I tried to load the Leap Motion console and app store which meant connecting over the internet. The big problem was…
It does not work over a proxy. This meant of course, I can not use it at school at the moment.
According to the forums I have read, they are addressing this problem.
I have taken it home now and in the next video I will demonstrate using some of the apps that you can use.